The All Party Parliamentary Group on Diaspora, Development and Migration was launched on Tuesday (3 February) at the UK House of Commons. The purpose of the group is to promote parliamentary and public understanding of the key issues affecting diaspora communities in the UK, and to expand and enhance their contributions to the international development agenda. It aims to connect parliamentarians with diaspora organizations, academics and civil society groups to inform policy on how diaspora contributions can be harnessed for greater impact.
IOM (International Organisation for Migration) Deputy Director General Laura Thompson delivered the keynote speech at the event that was chaired by AFFORD UK (African Foundation for Development).
“Building trust between national institutions and diaspora members and organisations is critical to the success of diaspora engagement policies and programmes,” said Ambassador Thompson.
“In this era of unprecedented human mobility, the opportunities that diaspora engagement presents, for societies and governments, are essential to harness and maximise the benefits of migration for both countries of residence and of origin,” she added.
IOM’s strategy on diaspora aims to engage, empower and enable these communities for the benefit of both their countries of origin and the countries that they are settled in.
“Diaspora members are investors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists: they invest in businesses in their countries of origin and build trade networks between countries of origin and destination, with great benefit to both. They facilitate the flow of knowledge and skills, establishing transnational scientific networks and contributing to the diffusion of technology across countries,” noted Ambassador Thompson.
Development practitioners and policymakers alike increasingly recognize the contributions of migrants and diaspora communities to development. Migration and its impact on development now feature in a number of international policy agendas, including the UN High Level Dialogue (UNHLD), Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the Rio+20 process, the follow up to the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in 2014, and the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Post-2015 Development Agenda framework.
At the UNHLD held in October 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted the declaration Making Migration Work: an Eight-point Agenda for Action. The eight-point agenda recognised the important nexus between diaspora, development and migration which the work of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Diaspora, Development and Migration (APPGDDM) will focus on over the coming years.
The event was hosted by Baroness Young of Hornsey and included a speech on behalf of the APPGDDM Secretariat, Gibril Faal, and the chair of African Foundation for Development UK.